We’re Antarctica bound, starting the trip off with a beautiful flight into Ushuaia—bathed in sunshine below us, with spectacular aerial views of the fjords and lakes that mark the southern edge of the South American tectonic plate. Ushuaia itself lies on a picturesque bay on the Beagle Channel surrounded by jagged snow-covered peaks. Above us the trees end in a razor-sharp mountain tree line; at our feet are gorgeous giant poppies and other colorful wildflowers.
Our tour divided into two groups, alternating morning and afternoon trips to Tierra del Fuego National Park, local scenic points, museum exhibits, and relaxed walks about town. We all met at noon for lunch at the Patagonia Mia Restaurant where a traditional Argentinean parrilla, a lunch of grilled meats, was served.
There were highlights for everyone including the rare sighting of a pair of Magellanic woodpeckers, soaring Andean condors, a Patagonian red fox, and, as one traveler described them—“lupines on steroids!” Late in the afternoon we reunited aboard our expedition vessel and home for the next eighteen days, Le Diamant. Our adventure was off to a perfect start as we sailed down the Beagle Channel into the Atlantic Ocean.